Georgia Issues Alert Over 'Herbal Incense'

A police officer holds packet of what is being sold as bath salts that contain stimulants (AP Graphic)
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Press Release: Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH)

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has become aware of a dangerous, potentially lethal substance surfacing in convenience stores and smoke shops. DPH has issued an emergency communication to about 40,000 licensed physicians and physician’s assistants in Ga. When ingested or inhaled this neurotoxin can render a person motionless and/or unconscious and cause severe cardiac problems. In the last 24 hours, at least eight patients in Southeast Ga. have been hospitalized; some patients have been admitted to intensive care and are on life support.

The substance is sold under the names Crazy Clown or Herbal Madness Incense, among others. It is marketed as “herbal incense,” bath salts, or “roll-your-own” tobacco. While these substances have been around for years, there are new indications the chemicals or ingredients have been altered to be far more dangerous or deadly. The substance is most commonly smoked or burned in a small bowl and inhaled.

First responders have reported unusual strength, agitation and combativeness in some persons. Some users have been rendered motionless, have abnormal or absent reflexes, and some experience unconsciousness. Symptoms may present almost immediately after ingestion or inhalation, or may be delayed as more of the product is ingested or inhaled. Mild to moderate intoxication can result in alterations in mood and perception, red eyes, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, weakness, cardiac abnormalities, hypertension, disorientation and an increase in pulse rate, similar to marijuana.

DPH is working closely with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to collect these products and remove them from store shelves. Samples of the product are currently being tested to identify the ingredients – until the composition of the product is known, physicians are only able to treat symptoms.

Anyone who has used the substance should seek immediate medical attention or call the Georgia Poison Center at 800-222-1222.


About the Georgia Department of Public Health

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters from a health perspective. In 2011, the General Assembly restored DPH to its own state agency after more than 30 years of consolidation with other departments. At the state level, DPH functions through numerous divisions, sections, programs and offices. Locally, DPH funds and collaborates with Georgia's 159 county health departments and 18 public health districts. Through the changes, the mission has remained constant – to protect the lives of all Georgians. Today, DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records, and the State Public Health Laboratory. For more information about DPH, visit

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